December 6, 2013

Dalton State pair controlling the paint

In a land of rolling hills, one big mountain can stand out in the distance. For the Dalton State College men’s basketball team, in a land of guards, a power forward or two can truly stand above the crowd and appear to be a giant.

On the floor early on in the season, Raheem Mosley and Nathan Terry are the giants, but only because their teammates are not.  

Mosley is a 6-foot, 9-inch junior from Bessemer, Ala., while Terry is a 6-8 sophomore from Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. While still waiting for players to become eligible at the beginning of the next academic semester, Mosley and Terry are the giraffes of the team while the gazelles are on the perimeter handling much of the scoring load.

None of the other players on Dalton State’s starting lineup are over 6-4. Mosley and Terry have rotated in the post all year long with the pair rarely on the floor at the same time. No matter if they are a big scoring threat or not, they both know that their primary role is to handle the opposing team’s presence in the lane.

“It is definitely a lot more pressure,” Terry said. “It isn’t necessarily a scoring pressure as much as it is defense and rebounds. We don’t have to score as much because we have such a good group of guards. It kind of depends on who we are playing and how they respond to what we are doing.”

Said Mosley: “We just do our job. Rebounding is a big part of our team with our lineup being undersized right now. We have to focus a lot on rebounding.”

Both have played in all 11 games as the Roadrunners have started the year with a 10-1 mark in their return to the floor after restarting the athletic program this year. Combined, they average just under 10 points and eight rebounds a game.

Coach Tony Ingle said the pair is giving him exactly what he wants in the paint.

“They do a lot more than just play defense and rebound,” Ingle said. “You could have a guy who plays football his entire life and never get his hands on a football in a game. In basketball, everyone touches the ball, and I like to say that when one person scores, 10 hands scored and not just the hands of the shooter.

“They have handled it great,” Ingle said. “We have been outsized a lot, particularly inside, but they hold their own.”

The pair have certainly been a big part of that successful restart to the program. They say the quick return to the winning ways of the Roadrunners of the past comes from something prevalent on all successful teams — chemistry.  

“I am not as surprised by our start,” Terry said. “When you have a really good coach and the talented players that we have around you, it isn’t a surprise. No one is really selfish. In fact, every one is unselfish and that is where the chemistry is such a good mix. You don’t have one player who thinks he has to score all of the time, so you have more passing and taking advantage of what the other team is giving you. It is teammates being teammates.”

Mosley adds one other key element for the wins to stack up for the team.

“Working hard,” he said. “We practice three hours a day and put in a lot of work. It is a lot of guys new to each other coming together as one, but it is a lot of work. And it is a work in progress. The chemistry has been great. For us coming from August to now, it has been great.”

One of the things that Mosley will have to work on is his free throw shooting. For a player who can bury 3-pointers in practice, his performance at the line has been lacking. After suffering a wrist injury earlier this year, Mosley has converted on just 25 percent of his free-throw opportunities. For a guy carrying just 205 pounds on his 6-9 frame and also carrying around the nickname “Slim,” Mosley knows all he can do now is take the ribbing from his teammates and keep working.

“It is just a mental thing at this point,” Mosley said. “I went through a phase where I hurt my hand, and now when I am at the line, it is thinking of shooting it too hard or shooting it too soft. It is just a mental thing now that I have to get over it. I am trying. I am taking a lot of ribbing for it, but it is my fault.”

On break this week for final exams, the Roadrunners return to the court on Dec. 17 against Southern Wesleyan (S.C.) University at the trade center.

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